The Hour – 7 Jul 1999


Opening lead — king of clubs.

It took Sylvia a long time to learn to use point count. Not because she was opposed to point count as a matter of principle, she had a better reason than that.

The fact is that Sylvia’s conception of hand evaluation didn’t quite jibe with the standard textbooks on the subject. Sylvia clung to the notion that you measured a hand by the number of tricks you could take, and the number of points you had struck her as a mathematical exercise best left to others. For example. take this case where she held the South hand. Most members of the club would have passed or opened with a pre-emptive spade bid.

But Sylvia appraised her hand differently. She saw she could win lots of tricks if spades were trumps, so she opened one spade. West overcalled with two clubs, and it would have curdled your blood to have heard the vehemence of North’s double. Sylvia blithely jumped to four spades. and North couldn’t really be blamed for bidding six, even with Sylvia as a partner.

When West doubled, North of course redoubled.

Now anyone can plainly see, that Sylvia was destined to go down, since she had to lose a spade and a diamond. But the wonderful thing about Sylvia was that she never realized when she was licked. She zoomed merrily along, taking one trick after another, until she had 12 of them!

She trumped the club lead. played a spade to the six and ruffed another club. A heart to the queen and a club ruff were followed by a heart to the ace and another club ruff. Then, after crossing to the king of diamonds, Sylvia trumped dummy’s last club. Now she cashed the ace of diamonds and exited with a diamond to East’s queen. This brought Sylvia down to. two cards — the Q-J of spades. West had the K4 left, while dummy had the ace of spades and nine of diamonds. When East led a heart, Sylvia ruffed’ with the jack and West’s appar-ently invincible trump trick-disappeared!